Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 28 August 2013

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Australia bemoan the cost of their GP 13:56

Bianchi to a midfield team 09:32

Mercedes has the best teammate pairing 09:32

Ricciardo in 2014 Red Bull seat fitting 09:50

Another Formula 1 documentary to follow Rush 10:58

Signs increase Ross Brawn to leave Mercedes 10:58

Brawn woos Vettel 10:58

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Australia bemoan the cost of their GP

As we await the preliminary F1 schedule for 2014 due in the next week or so, the Australian debate emerges again. This year the cost to the Victoria government to host the race was 20m Euro. Under the escalator agreed in the current contract it will be 22m Euro to Bernie in 2014.

Tourism Minister Louise Asher today in sportal.au doesn’t rule out the potential for more races to be held after 2015 – when the current contract ends – but she insists it wouldn’t occur at the expense of ‘value for money for taxpayers’.

“I have asked the chairman of the Grand Prix Corporation, Mr (Ron) Walker, to commence preliminary discussions with (F1 supremo) Mr (Bernie) Ecclestone over our future contract. There’s no rush on this, obviously, because there’s still two events to go and the government will not be signing up anything if it does not represent good value for money for taxpayers.

I don’t think it’s the right thing to do by either the Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Corporation, or anybody for me to start putting limits in a public sense on what the government would be prepared to subsidise. But generally the driver of all government activity on this will be we will only sign a new contract if it represents good value for money.

Asher then rather strangely adds, “This is a very, very expensive race, and I personally am not happy about the amount of subsidies.”

Australian Grand Prix CEO Andrew Westacott suggested financial arrangements weren’t the only stumbling blocks in the way of Melbourne’s future as a Formula One city, with a host of other Asian cities clamouring over themselves to take the marquee event off the Victorian capital.

“Back at the start of the contract there was only one other event in Asia and that was Japan, and then Melbourne came along. Now there’s seven events in Asia and we go into Asia in prime time.

So with a 5pm timeslot, Melbourne is broadcast into Asia on free-to-air at lunchtime and into the European market at breakfast”.

Ecclestone has been pressing the Australian GP promoter’s to hold the event as a night race to ease the burden of a 4-5am reveille. Further, the 5pm start and late afternoon qualifying can mean the main event on Saturday and Sunday may come perilously close to the bain of the cricketers’… where… ‘bad light stops play’.

Yet the cost of lighting Albert Park or a Melbourne street circuit would put an estimated 10m euro’s onto the cost of the event, which at present makes no money despite excellent attendance.

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Bianchi to a midfield team

Ferrari is keen for Bianchi to build more experience prior to joining them later in his career. Bianchi has impressed even though he is racing for backmarkers Marussia this season. His manager, Nicolas Todt confirmed ferrari is looking to place him in a midfield team.

Despite the fact that he is with a small team, it would be fair to say that Jules has already made a name for himself in Formula One. Others have rarely managed to achieve this. Ferrari is closely watching the results as they want him to pursue his career in one of the teams in the middle group, before joining the Scuderia one day.

Nicolas Todt was seen in conversation with Sauber at Spa and with the team about to announce a new Ferrari engine deal the latter may depend on taking a Ferrari academy driver.

It is widely believed that Sirotkin will join Sauber as well depending if on him acquiring a Super Licence. However, as Marussia also have a deal with Ferrari could we see them fielding Sirotkin with Bianchi joining Sauber to partner a more experienced driver, possibly Massa (should he decide to stay in Formula 1)?

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Mercedes has the best teammate pairing

Is Vettel starting to feel lonely with no support from his teammate (not that he needs it)? In an interview with Bild, Vettel was asked who, of the current Formula 1 drivers, he would consider as the best team pairing.

Hamilton and Rosberg. They push as well as harmonise one another very well.” When asked about his relationship with Webber the well known line, “Our relationship is completely professional,” was given.

It leaves you to wonder, would Vettel like it if Hamilton joins Red Bull?

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Ricciardo in 2014 Red Bull seat fitting

Two weeks ago TJ13 reported Ricciardo has signed for Red Bull Racing to partner Vettel in 2014. Mark Webber said that the deal [for the Red Bull Seat] was done and “it is good for him and good for Australia” yet Reb Bull keeps denying it as “other options” have become available.

Speed Week now reports that Ricciardo has done a seat fitting for the 2014 car this week.

If Ricciardo is not signed by Red Bull they are going through a lot of trouble to bluff…

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Another Formula 1 documentary to follow Rush

Another Formula 1 documentary is soon to be released. The documentary looks at how safety in the sport has increased after a spate of driver deaths in the sport.

A number of Formula 1 key players were interviewed for this documentary including Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley, Michael Schumacher, Jackie Stewart, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Niki Lauda, John Surtees and Damon Hill.

If you are interested, it should be available for download by the 1st October.

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Signs increase Ross Brawn to leave Mercedes

When Mercedes announced Paddy Lowe was joining the team it became clear Brawn was on borrowed time. When Lowe joined the team after his gardening leave was shortened with permission from McLaren, Brawn said he will “work with Paddy for the next six months, maybe longer. When the transition occurs, there will be a soft handover“.

It now appears Brawn is definitely on his way out. Lauda told BBC Sport “I talked to Ross on Tuesday and tried to convince him to be there [next year]. I can’t force him. It’s his decision but I think I’m making good progress.”

At the time of the announcement that Lowe was joining Mercedes and Brawn was to do a soft handover he [Brawn] said he don’t know when he will step back but he is looking forward to 2014. “I don’t know yet [about stepping back]. I’m already looking forward to the new season. 2014 will be a very exciting year, because a completely new technology comes into play. Mercedes will be in a promising situation. It will be great fun!

His words, typical to Brawn, can be read in various ways but, could it be that he is not considering retirement but…

With Alison moving to Ferrari, Rory Bryne already working on the 2014 campaign, could Ferrari be trying to rekindle the glory years of 2000 – 2004 with all but Jean Todt? Does Kimi know this and does Alonso know this?

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Brawn woos Vettel

The speculation about the driver market at present is becoming rather dull. Yet this may be because TJ13 first reported an impending Richter scale 9 driver move back in July when all the F1 press had gone on holiday.

Ricciardo is going to Red Bull. The only reason Horner et al are saying ‘the matter is not yet decided’ is because the speculation about Raikkonen or Alonso driving for Red Bull may somewhat destabilise their opponents.

Now we are hearing that yet again McLaren have come to the party when all the champagne is finished. Whitmarsh admits that Kimi would be an asset to their team, but that they’ve not had any talks with him. Jenson is nervy as his 2014 option has not been activated by the team.

Massa and Sirotkin to Sauber along with Bianchi and Hulkenberg??? – sounds like Sauber are expanding.

Yada yada yada.

What is certain, if we get one top driver moving it creates a few other opportunities, but if we get 2 top driver moves the whole pack of cards can be thrown up in the air. However, the Webber retirement doesn’t fit this category as his place is being taken by a young gun.

All eyes will be on Ferrari in Monza. Kimi to Maranello does create a number of possibilities elsewhere – such as (and you heard it here first) – Massa to Toro Rosso 😉

Anyway, the back to the story which is in fact rather a spoof. The title should really say Braun woos Sebastian Vettel, because he has agreed a personal endorsement deal to become a global ambassador for the German brand’s new range of men’s electric grooming equipment.

The 26-year-old will be the face of the company’s multi-platform ‘Hold on to your Dreams’ campaign. “I grew up with the Braun brand,” said Vettel. “We both come from the same state of Hesse, so the connection is deep rooted. I have always been amazed by how much technology goes into Braun shavers.

Lakis Vasileiadis, Braun’s global marketing director, added: “We are truly delighted to have Sebastian as our new ambassador. He is an impressive man who has achieved his dream through hard work, preparation, perseverance and the ultimate performance. He is a leader in his sport.”

TJ13 applauds these deals the grooming companies are striking with the drivers. The reason being is that of late it has been clear that the F1 boys are obviously so ‘busy doing nothing’ that they have become lethargic and sloppy over personal hygiene.

Facial fluff smeared with sweat following a race is not attractive lads” – according to Mrs. Judge.

Anyway following dinner one evening last weekend, I’m hoping Lynx or some other antiperspirant company will offer one particular F1 driver a global ambassadorial role – and quickly please.

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25 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 28 August 2013

  1. Most probably Vettel would like it if Rosberg joined RBR! Don’t think he would relish the prospect of going head-to-head with Hamilton.

  2. Massa to TR? I don’t see any logic in that. They already strongly hinted Da Costa will replace Ricciardo. Besides that Massa doesn’t fit in their profile and most probably wouldn’t want to drive there anyway.

    • Don’t like to be critical of my favourite F1 blog but! I think Massa to Torro Rosso makes no sense in any way whatsoever. Outrageous claims like this might happen make this blog look ridiculous so please don’t discredit the good work already done!

      Ferrari 2000-2004, having all but Jean Todt. Did having arguably the greatest driver of all time then too not have some effect in their results?

      • I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist, Schuey the greatest driver of all time? Really? Statistically yes, but not otherwise, definitely not!

        • It’s a sport with radically different cars through the years never mind generations so it’s impossible for anyone to say who was the greatest hence I said arguably the greatest as I would have said for Fangio, Senna or Clark although might not have meant it as much:-).

        • Not sure how to measure these things if not with numbers and statistics. Otherwise you’re left with impressions, hunches and gut feelings!

          • But that is the beauty of any sport. It’s not just the numbers. That’s why people consider Ali the greatest boxer of all time and not Marciano or Sugar Ray Robinson.
            Back to F1, of course the car plays a role. The best we can do is talk about the best drivers of their generation, i.e. Fangio-Ascari-Moss, Clark-Stewart, Lauda-Villeneuve, Prost-Senna-Mansell-Piquet, Schumacher-Hakkinen, Alonso-Hamilton-Vettel-Raikkonen. I’m sure I missed some, but you get my point.

          • Forget F1 as at the end of the day different people involved in the sport have different opinions but where boxing is concerned I think you will find virtually every expert bar none regards Robinson as head and shoulders above any other boxer who ever lived.

  3. I think Massa to Toro Rosso was a joke by the judge to cheer up the dull mood now at driver market.Other than that,no can seriously even think of Massa to Toro Rosso..(I think Red Bull would rather give Kimi a seat in RBR rather than giving Massa a TR seat!!!)

    And Sirotkin-Bianchi swap is hard to believe..Russian backers will definitely not agree to have their debutant swap from a decent mid-field team Sauber(OK..until 2012 atleast..!!Maybe in 2014 also..) to a backmarker team such as Marussia,where it is criminal to think of points scoring!!!

    So,this high-profile,”9 on the richter scale equivalent” driver moving,which the honourable judge has mentioned from past 1 month.., pls tell them to announce it fast!!Silly season is not yet over……..

    • Monza was the official expiration date for this “news”. Bernie’s losing his touch a little in preparation of his big day in court I suspect. Otherwise we would have had more drama with which to entertain ourselves during the summer break. 😉

    • It has legs… if Sirotkin drove next year, then the easiest place to start would be Marussia (Russian owned) against Max Chilton, in the slowest car. Gutierrez will be stronger next year, and going up against Hulkenberg this year has made him look bad. Going up against Bianchi in the Sauber would have a similar effect, and be bad for his career and credibility as he develops (probably in F1, to get to his potential), leading to more of an Alguersuari type loss of momentum.

      Sirotkin probably needs another year in FR3.5 or GP2 equivalent as well. I think at the moment he has the possibility to be on the Pic-Chilton level, i.e. without a championship title in his background (although he’s progressed early/skipped up to get to the top ASAP, a bit like those two as well).

      Bianchi to Ferrari is a done deal IMO… If it wasn’t, Sauber would have to pay up $9m to cancel their engine debt pretty soonish… but taking Bianchi probably takes care of that! If the FIA don’t give Sirotkin the super-licence, then we could have Bianchi-Gutierrez at Sauber.

      Hulk would be left with trying to replace Massa at Ferrari, unless the 9 on the Richter scale driver move from left field comes into play, opening doors for him, such as maybe at Lotus. He did say that the driver market key was not Kimi however, lending some credence to this theory.

      Marussia would probably move for someone like Nasr, a talent with Brazilian backing, that will increase when Massa is gone from F1, and/or do a mini deal with someone like Petrov if Russia was determined to have representation at Sochi 2014.

    • Because of the origin of the company, not the origin of the men. Just realized my comment could be taken for bigotry. Of which it is not.

  4. “Another Formula 1 documentary to follow Rush”

    Is Rush a documentary or is it the case with most movies from Hollywood when they use a factual story it becomes “based on actual events” so the director can add stuff which isn’t true or can be proven?

    The safety documentary is interesting because since 1980, four drivers (I’ve excluded testing deaths) have been killed at race week-ends. Two, Senna and Paletti, were killed during a race, while Villeneuve and Ratzenberger were killed in practice / qualifying.

    But if you look at the 1950’s and exclude Indianapolis, almost all the deaths were in the race. As we move into the 60’s and then the 70’s we see the deaths start to even out between race and practice / qualifying. Until the 80’s and 90’s when they are even.

    It would be an interesting exercise to understand why that happened.

    BTW. I actually saw Paletti killed. I was about 50 yards away from the accident. It’s not something I want to see again.

    • That can’t have been easy to witness. Depailler and de Angelis instantly spring to mind.. I imagine Bernie made Paul Ricard the paragon of safety it now is in response to losing de Angelis.

    • I remember that weekend. I had been at the Detroit race and was shocked at the Paletti accident, knowing I had just seen him race. I had press passes and told some British reporter that Watson would win; after mocking me he was pretty surprised at the result.

  5. I agree that Ham-Ros is the best pairing on the grid, strength wise, and also think that Vet-Rai would be similar to Ham-Alo, as they are the top 4 drivers of the current era.

    From Rai-Alo-But/Mas/Web, we now have Ham-Vet to challenge Rai-Alo who are left. I think in future Ros will come strong, as he has recently, along with Hulk at a top team, Gros if he gains consistency, DiR if he gets a top drive; Ric/Per have the chance next year, with Bia-Bot being another pairing to look out for eventually. I would include Ver, but you never know how long TR drivers have left in F1…

    Getting my crystal ball out, you would think Nasr-Evans-Marciello could also be a top F1 pairing at some point, but things could turn out any which way… Sirotkin has a chance if his development is managed properly.

  6. “Hamilton and Rosberg. They push as well as harmonise one another very well.”

    What exactly does that mean? Historically teams with a recognized number 1 and number 2 driver do better than those that have co-equal drivers. And when you do have co-equal drivers in a top team it almost always in a bust up. Remember Senna / Prost or Piquet / Mansell.

    • Good point, seems appropriate to use that well known Brazilian fall-back, ‘for sure’.

    • I think Hamilton is the number one driver, for now anyway. Hamilton is maybe not as much number 1 as Alonso or Raikkonen, but maybe similar to Vettel with Webber. Malaysia made it clear, while Monaco was just a slip up by Hamilton under the safety car. But Hamilton they will push for the title.

      Next year, who knows. It could develop into a similar situation, if Rosberg has the consistency (lack of retirements or poor showings) to be right there come the end of the year.

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